By Kris Betts – September 10, 2015
AUSTIN — Homeowners in a South Austin neighborhood as well as employees at the United States Postal Service are left scratching their heads after a group mailbox disappeared entirely overnight.
The mailbox serves close to three dozen homes in the Central Park neighborhood off Stassney Lane. Neighbors believe it was stolen sometime between late Monday night and Tuesday morning.
“Swung by the mailbox and it wasn’t there,” said homeowner James Harkins. “It doesn’t look right not having it over there after seeing it there for the last five years.”
United States Postal Inspector Michael Sullivan said it’s fairly common to see individual mailboxes damaged or destroyed. However he has never seen one disappear entirely.
“I’ve been doing this for 20 years and I have never seen one just removed like that,” Sullivan said.
They are investigating the disappearance as a theft. Nuts and washers were left intact and undamaged where the mailbox used to be bolted to the ground.
“One person cannot just pick one up and put it in the back of their car,” said Sullivan, who believes it was the work of at least two people.
For homeowners, the biggest concern now is privacy.
“Everything from passports, credit cards — all the information that really identifies who you are comes through the regular post office,” said Harkins.
The USPS inspector will continue to investigate and asks for people who have seen or heard something suspicious to report it immediately.
They expect to replace the mailbox within the week. Sullivan said the new mailbox will be more secure.